February 29, 2008

Q Theatre

Catherine Nola posted 18 Oct 2007, 03:41 PM

[An update from the] Q Theatre’s website …  For the full story go to http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/media.php?nid=30

But here’s the quick highlights:

    For those that don’t already know: Q Theatre will be a mid -sized flexible performance space located at 305 Queen Street at the back of the Town Hall and next door to the Silo and Classic.  It will primarily operate as a venue for hire with an auditorium (seating between 350 – 460), two rehearsal rooms, and an open all day café and bar.  Q Theatre will also set up an entrepreneurial subsidiary company which will act as a co-producer for more developmental / risky works and to support emerging practitioners to help them into the venue (we anticipate around 3 co-produced shows per year).

    Q Theatre has now raised over 80% of it’s required funding.  We have recently received an additional $4.6m grant from Auckland City Council and grants from the ASB Community Trust now total just under $4.5m.  We have an application in with Central Govt (through the Lotteries Commission) and we are currently recruiting for a fundraising manager to help us source the balance from a variety of gaming trusts, private trusts and private donors.

    Q Theatre has lodged a resource consent application and current plans have a construction start date of mid-late 2008, with a construction period of around 2 years, meaning, all going to plan, Auckland should have a new theatre open it’s doors around late 2010.

Please – if any of you have any further questions about Q Theatre, either post them here and I will respond, or do pick up the phone and go about it the old fashioned way – our number is 09 309 8324.


Catherine Nola

Q Theatre

neil furby             posted 18 Oct 2007, 08:43 PM

Well done with all the sterling work Catherine !!!

nik smythe          posted 21 Oct 2007, 01:43 PM

bravo indeed – an auditorium accessible to young co-operative theatre that’s larger than Silo and (please!) less geopraphically challenging/compromising than the Herald.

Catherine Nola posted 4 Feb 2008, 05:44 PM / edited 10 Feb 2008, 03:31 PM

Since my last post in October, the winds have changed in Auckland – there is a new City Council (with 10 new Councillors) and as a result of their mandate to reduce rates and cut spending, Q Theatre is now under review.

At a Council meeting on the 12th February, Councillors will vote on whether to endorse the additional $4.6m voted on by the previous Council (as noted in my earlier post).

For the full news release go here: http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/media.php?nid=32 (I have also asked John to post it on Theatreview’s news page) and please feel free to post any questions on this forum and I will reply.



Roger Hall           posted 4 Feb 2008, 08:48 PM


C/- Auckland City Council, Private Bag 92516, Wellesley Street, Auckland, 1141

Dear Councillor Moyle

“They aspired to culture and civilised behaviour” 

Hamish Keith, in The Big Picture, about the Auckland City Council during the Victorian era.

I was present at the Arts, Culture and Finance  meeting last Thursday as part of the group supporting the Q Theatre.

I was supposed to make a presentation but it was decided (wisely) that there already enough speakers. So I am taking the trouble to write to you with what I would have said.

The elephant in the room is “Wellington”.  Or it should be.  Wellingtonians are convinced that it is the artistic capital of New Zealand. And most of them think, by comparison, the Auckland scene can’t even compete.

It doesn’t matter what the Wellingtonians think: what is important is that many Aucklanders agree with them and think that the Auckland arts scene can’t compare.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We were City of Sails but if we were looking for a new image, then

City of Arts would be a viable alternative.

Few Aucklanders realize the number and wealth or groups we have. Look what we’ve got:

We have some superb world class sculpture parks in Auckland and the region; Brick Bay; Zealandia  (American friends who live in Washington DC—a place renowned for arts—were gobsmacked by John Gow’s   Connell Bay on Waiheke Island).

This year’s Auckland Writers and Readers Festival was the best yet and, dare I say it, better than Wellington’s.

This year’s Arts Festival was the best yet (and it gets better every time).

The Vector Stadium now hosts top-class world acts.

Art   A fine art gallery (devoted to art and not paintings fighting for space in  a museum); plus any number of dealer galleries, plus several major art auction houses.

Music  Auckland is home to the NZ Opera Company, the Opera Factory,  Auckland Opera Studio, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra,  NZ String trio, Age of Discovery,  Musica Sacra, choirs  such as Auckland Choral, Viva Voce, Bach Musica …

Dance We have several companies based here:  Black Grace, Touch Compass Dance Company, Atamira Dance Collective, Rifleman Productions, Douglas Wright Dance Company plus  the excellent Tempo Dance Festival each year.

Theatre   Auckland has vibrant, diverse lively theatre scene that caters for all ages and many diverse interest and ethnic groups. 

ATC has been going for fifteen years with  plus (and this can easily be overlooked) a programme that actively launches and develops new works by New Zealanders; Silo Theatre, numerous companies such as that use the Maidment:  The Large Group, Potent Pause Productions, Naked Samoans, Indian Ink Company (that brought us Krishna’s Dairy etc),  Taki Rua.

Comedy  The Comedy Club is an institution and the  International Comedy Festival (other cities now following suit).

We have some of the country’s most exciting architecture.

I have been trying to show that Auckland is an Arts City.

My GENERAL point is that Aucklanders and, even more importantly, its City Council and councillors should realize it, and be proud of it.

My SPECIFIC point is that there is a huge demand for the performing space that Q will provide. In addition to the groups mentioned under theatre and dance,  there are eight other theatre groups plus the NZ Opera Company that have indicated they would like to use Q Theatre from time to time and both the Auckland Arts Festival and the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival say they would use it, too.

The need is great.

The Auckland City Council has been enormously supportive of this project. I urge you to continue giving this support to ensure what will be a major asset for the city.

Yours sincerely

Roger Hall


martyn roberts posted 5 Feb 2008, 11:46 AM

It is of vital importance that the Q project gets the go ahead. To muddy the argument a bit with the myth that ‘Wellingtonians’ think Auckland is a cultural desert is a shame. ANY community that has a vibrant performing and visual arts scene that is supported and nurtured by the collective whole creates an overflow effect whereby the greater society benefits. We really must move on from this old ‘us vs them’ mentality in the arts and seek to encourage all communities attempts to grow. So Roger, can we reprogram ourselves away from suspicion and onto vision? I hope very much that the new John Banks doctrine in Auckland isn’t a slash and burn at the expense of an opportunity to grow.

Aaron Alexander              posted 5 Feb 2008, 02:24 PM

I agree Martyn. What a shame that Mr Hall, with the most worthy of intentions, felt the need to invoke parochialism. Surely it makes your argument look weak if the primary point seems to be ‘what would the neighbours think?’.

Still, all the best with trying to secure this venue. Hopefully the council isn’t dominated by bottom-line thinkers.

John Smythe      posted 5 Feb 2008, 04:59 PM / edited 5 Feb 2008, 05:00 PM

I think Roger’s point is that this – for better or worse – is the chat he hears around the traps, and he seeks to disprove its veracity. And while it would indeed be lovely for us all to rise above parochialism, it is – by definition – the stock in trade for city councils. But the main point is that no major city is either mature or complete without a flourishing arts scene – and this is something it should desire and require for the sake of its own health and wealth. 

e. v         posted 5 Feb 2008, 05:00 PM

I understand the sentiment of Roger’s letter, but i agree with Martyn and Aaron. I honestly can’t think of the last time I had a conversation where this came up.

Wellingtonians are convinced that it is the artistic capital of New Zealand. And most of them think, by comparison, the Auckland scene can’t even compete.

Um, nope. True of a few maybe, but sounds like you’re holding a grudge based on the words of a few (I have a feeling that ‘back in the day’ there was this attitude. .but I’m a young ‘un so yeah.) and I wonder were they from outside Welly. If I posed the question of who is ‘artier’ to friends of mine who wouldn’t be that into arts/culture in general they would say Welly. Doesn’t mean its true.

Catherine Nola posted 5 Feb 2008, 05:10 PM / edited 5 Feb 2008, 06:24 PM

Just to defend Roger a little on this point – this letter was written for, and sent to, all Councillors at Auckland City Council.  If ever there was an audience who would respond to a parochial argument, this is it.

Roger was trying to appeal to the councillors’ pride in Auckland, and when it comes to culture it doesn’t hurt to remind them that Auckland can foot it with Wellington. It wasn’t intended to be an attack on Wellington as such…

Michael Smythe                posted 10 Feb 2008, 03:23 PM / edited 10 Feb 2008, 03:27 PM

Has the branding of this excellent, overdue plan to invest in our cultural, social and economic growth (cultural energy attracts /retains well qualified people to live /work in cities) turned out to be a (time) bomb with an ever shortening wick? Prompted by a mention on today’s Arts on Sunday (RNZ National) I checked out Spike Milligan’s Q TV series and found the following on Wikipedia:

“Q gave centre stage to Milligan’s freeform surreal wit. The sketches came thick and fast, running into one another, making outrageous leaps from one subject or location to another and often stopping with no apparent conclusion.”

Margaret Belich                posted 29 Feb 2008, 11:18 PM

“Is it me, or is it you ? ” as the Actress said to the Bishop. There is a time for witty interlocution on the mysteries of identity (branding, parochialisms) but, please, not just right now.

Q Theatre, it seems agreed, is a great opportunity for all of us. But time and the winds of political change are putting at risk an important project So, let’s focus on the task at hand. So to speak.

The job right now is to support the completion of Q’s capital development project – building a new mid-sized theatre that provides long-term physical infrastructure in a large city that has a great paucity of theatre spaces.

Everyone (well, most people) knows why performing artists should be allowed a roof over their heads, just as most of us agree on playgrounds, sporting fields and botanical gardens. Things grow there- play, prowess, precious diversity and creativity. Culture, identity and heritage, in official speak. 

Q Theatre  (info@qtheatre.co.nz) would without a doubt welcome all words of belief and endorsement of the project, so it has even further proof of community support. Writing such messages now will be of immeasurable value. I know what I’ll be doing in the next month or so – knocking on the doors of city councillors and Government with the message: It’s pay-up time, my children and their children should have the right to enjoy the arts in purpose-built places in this country

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